Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The WHO versus the media

No, it's not surprising that the media have been kicked out of the latest WHO tobacco conference, but it is an outrage that not a single delegate voted against the decision. We are not only paying for this jamboree as taxpayers but the UK delegation - which, once again, includes Deborah Arnott from the nominally private charity ASH and the Department of Health activist-bureaucrat Andrew Black - generously offered the WHO another £15 million of our money to spend on its prohibitionist crusade yesterday.

The Rebel tries to get some answers in the video below. Worth a watch.

And then, today, Drew Johnson from the Daily Caller was dragged out...

Far be it from me to give advice to the WHO, but wouldn't it be easier - and less embarrassing - to just let people in? The public, media and - heaven forfend! - industry could only observe what was going on if they were in the gallery. It's not like they can say anything or do anything. The full transcripts will be available in a few weeks anyway.

I've written about the decline of the WHO for the Spectator. Here's a snippet...

How do you deal with a man who likens himself to Hitler, describes the murder of children as ‘collateral damage’, slaughters thousands, and says he’s happy to slaughter three million more?

If the man is Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, and you are the head of the World Health Organisation’s anti-tobacco division, you will send your personal congratulations. Never mind that Duterte’s indiscriminate shoot-to-kill policy for drug users has brought him to the attention of the International Criminal Court. Duterte has recently introduced a smoking ban and that, it seems, is enough for him to be embraced by the public health community.

A total lack of perspective? Perhaps, but an inability to look beyond petty lifestyle regulation has become the WHO’s calling card. Take North Korea, for example. Amnesty International says that this totalitarian hellhole is ‘in a category of its own when it comes to human rights violations’, but when WHO director-general Margaret Chan visited the country in 2010, she commented favourably on its low rate of obesity.

When the Ebola epidemic began in October 2014, Chan issued a statement saying that she was ‘fully occupied with coordinating the international response to what is unquestionably the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times.’ This was not entirely true. In reality, she was at a WHO conference in Moscow denigrating e-cigarettes and praising Vladimir Putin for his commitment to public health. Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 had been shot down above Ukraine only two weeks earlier.

Rodrigo Duterte, Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin. Is there any politician too brutal for the WHO so long as they take a firm line on fizzy drinks and smoking in bars? As international organisations go, this lot make FIFA look like the Girl Guides.

Do read the rest.

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